The United States and China have myriad diferences, from economy to industr...
2021-05-25 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
Competition for infuence on the African continent is an undeniable geopolitical reality. The Donald Trump administration’s emphasis on countering China and Russia on the continent raised concerns about unwelcome echoes of the Cold War era, when the United States often treated African states as pawns or prizes rather than partners. But a desire to avoid the mistakes of the past does not negate the need to grapple with the motivations and consequences of other powers’ Africa agendas. The Joe Biden administration, and all major powers, face the same facts: by 2050, a quarter of the world’s population will be African and the continent’s youthful and growing labor force—the largest in the world by that point—will stand in stark contrast to the aging populations of other regions.
That human capital will increasingly become the most important feature of Africa’s global profle, although Africa’s natural resources, including cobalt and other rare earth metals critical to humanity’s technology-driven future, will also remain relevant. No entity aiming to infuence global afairs in the decades to come can aford a passive Africa strategy. These facts do not have to lead to what the Economist called a “new scramble for Africa.”1 They speak to the continent’s greater integration into the global economy, the promise and the peril of Africa’s demographic transformation, and the power of Africa’s voice and vote when most of the region’s ffty-four countries are united in global forums. At a moment when the norms and expectations of international relations are in transition, countries taking stock of the future see the wisdom in deepening ties with Africa. But the nature of that interaction varies widely, as do the motivations and ambitions that underlie major powers’ Africa agendas.
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